Erik Swabb represents defense companies and other government contractors in high-stakes investigations on a wide range of issues. He also advises on regulatory, public policy and legislative matters related to national security.

Clients rely on Mr. Swabb’s understanding of the unique challenges faced by the defense sector as a critically important, highly regulated and politically sensitive industry. Mr. Swabb previously served as General Counsel of the US Senate Armed Services Committee and Special Adviser to the Legal Adviser of the US Department of State. Before his legal career, he was a US Marine infantry officer and deployed to Iraq and Liberia.

Mr. Swabb has conducted internal investigations and responded to inquiries by the US Department of Justice, US Department of Defense, US Department of the Treasury, Military Services, Inspectors General, US Congress and other government entities involving allegations of:

  • Procurement fraud, including False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Act violations,
  • Foreign corruption,
  • Sanctions violations,
  • Anti-money laundering violations,
  • Non-compliance with regulatory and government contract requirements,
  • Government ethics violations, and
  • Failures in military operations, equipment and training.

Mr. Swabb has conducted sensitive investigations in some of the most challenging political and security environments in the world.

Mr. Swabb also provides strategic counsel to defense companies and leaders on regulatory, public policy and legislative matters. He has designed and executed executive branch and congressional strategies to achieve client goals.

Mr. Swabb has successfully resolved high-stakes challenges, achieving key client goals and mitigating legal risk, reputational harm, disruption to business operations and damage to customer relationships.

Prior Experience

From 2017 to 2018, Mr. Swabb served as General Counsel of the US Senate Armed Services Committee under Chairman John McCain. Mr. Swabb vetted and advised on all nominations referred to the committee, facilitating bipartisan support for over 40 civilian nominations and over 20,000 military nominations confirmed by the Senate. In addition, he helped manage the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual defense policy bill that authorizes funding and provides authorities for the US Department of Defense. He also advised on oversight and legislative matters, as well as ethics compliance for committee staff.

As Special Adviser to the Legal Adviser of the US Department of State from 2018 to 2019, Mr. Swabb provided counsel to the Department’s top lawyer on a range of highly sensitive issues involving congressional oversight, foreign assistance, international claims and international law.

In 2015, Mr. Swabb left WilmerHale and served as a policy advisor for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign.

Prior to his legal career, Mr. Swabb served as an infantry officer in the US Marine Corps from 2002 to 2006. He led a light armored reconnaissance platoon on combat operations in Iraq and supervised unit training as the second-in-command of a company. After law school, he returned to active duty from 2009 to 2010 to serve in the UN Mission in Liberia. He directed multinational operations for information collection in a remote border region and managed the drawdown of the UN peacekeeping force.

Professional Activities

Mr. Swabb maintains an active pro bono practice representing military veterans seeking Combat-Related Special Compensation and other benefits.


    • Counsel for a major defense contractor in international internal investigations involving the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other allegations of misconduct.
    • Counsel for a market-leading company in parallel civil and criminal False Claims Act investigations by the US Department of Justice related to services for the US military. 
    • Counsel for a company in an internal investigation and related US Department of Defense inquiries.
    • Counsel for a company in multiple congressional inquiries and hearings related to services for the US military.
    • Counsel for a defense contractor in an inspector general investigation related to costs billed under government contracts.
    • Counsel for a senior US Department of Defense official in an inspector general investigation related to government ethics.
    • Counsel for a former US Army general in congressional investigations related to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi. 
    • Counsel for an organization in connection with congressional engagement on the National Defense Authorization Act.
    • Counsel for a business owner in connection with executive branch engagement on a US Department of Defense regulatory issue.
    • Counsel for a major defense contractor in connection with congressional strategies for national security issues.
    • Counsel for a senior US government official in a congressional hearing related to national security.
    • Counsel for a major consulting firm in a congressional inquiry related to government contracts.
    • Counsel for an individual in a high-profile nomination for a national security position in the Cabinet.
    • Counsel for a global technology company in a US sanctions investigation.
    • Counsel for a global financial institution in a cross-border, money laundering investigation.
    • Counsel for a major financial institution in multiple money laundering investigations.
    • Counsel for a global financial institution in a money laundering investigation in Latin America.
    • Counsel for a global financial institution in a money laundering, terrorist financing and sanctions investigation by the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
    • Counsel for a large defense contractor in an action against the US Air Force concerning the launch of military satellites through discovery and trial before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.
    • Counsel for a major defense contractor in a dispute with a subcontractor involving contracted services in Afghanistan.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Harvard Law School, 2009

      Supervising Editor, Harvard Journal on Legislation
    • BA, Political Science, Columbia University, 2002

      summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa
  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York

  • Government Experience

    • Federal Legislative Branch

      US Senate

      General Counsel, Committee on Armed Services
    • Department of State

      Special Adviser to the Legal Adviser of the Department of State